Buddy Holly and The Crickets started a three week run at #1 in England today in 1957 with That'll Be The Day. The song, which would inspire legions of British rockers to be, came when Buddy, Jerry Allison, and Sonny Curtis went to the movies and saw The Searchers, in which starring actor John Wayne uttered his catch phrase "that'll be the day" so many times they had to write a song around it.
31 year old Salvatore Philip "Sonny" Bono married 18 year old Cherilyn Sarkisian today in 1964. Sonny was working for producer Phil Spector when he met her two years earlier in an L.A. coffeeshop. He got her gigs singing backup on studio recordings, but was also starting to write songs himself, and though their first incarnation Caesar and Cleo was unsuccessful, but when they changed the name to Sonny and Cher they had a hit with Baby Don't Go, and their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show went so well CBS offered them their own variety show. They would divorce 12 years later.
Having released his breakthrough album Born To Run in late August, Bruce Springsteen had the ultra-rare honor of being featured on the covers of both Time and Newsweek magazines today in 1975.
Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention, Little Feat, and Captain Beefheart's Magic Band bass player Roy Estrada was in court today in 1977 being convicted of sexual assault on a child. He served a six year sentence, then was convicted on the same charge again in 1994, and another time in 2012, this time for a long-term assault starting in 2008, for which he is still in prison and not eligible for parole until he hits age 93.
Drummer Steve Took, who'd played with Marc Bolan in his hippie-folk band Tyrannosaurus Rex and helped him transition it to the glam-metal T Rex, died today in 1980 after choking to death on a cherry pit that entered his lungs while he was high on a combination of psillocybin mushrooms and morphine. Took had befriended Bolan's idol, Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd, and the two had developed a fondness for hallucinogens, and Steve had earned the nickname "The Phantom Spiker" after dumping LSD in punchbowls at parties, but when he spiked the bowl with STP at the launch party for the British edition of Rolling Stone Magazine, Bolan had such a bad trip he kicked Took out of the band.
An angry and quite delusional young man named Mark David Chapman bought a 5 shot .38 Special revolver for $169 today in 1980. Though he had attempted suicide and been admitted to a psychiatric hospital for severe depression, he did not have to pass any background checks, and used the gun to murder John Lennon outside his New York apartment a little over six weeks later, though Chapman made a list of people he would also consider killing, including Johnny Carson, Marlon Brando, Walter Cronkite, Elizabeth Taylor, George C. Scott, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. He settled on Lennon because he seemed easiest to find, and he was angry that John had said The Beatles were more popular than Jesus, and had preached "Imagine no possessions in the song Imagine while having millions of dollars and a psychedelic Rolls Royce".
Where Led Zeppelin had famously beat fans senseless (and once a Canadian government official in Vancouver measuring decibel levels) for doing the same thing, The Grateful Dead announced today in 1984 they would set aside a special area at their upcoming show in Berkeley California for fans who came to make "bootleg" recordings.
Def Leppard were in Tacoma tonight in 1988, playing the final show of their 232-date Hysteria tour at the Dome. It was the first for drummer Rick Allen since losing his left arm in a car crash, and the tour and album's title reflected his feelings toward the media reaction to the crash.
The Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards joined some 10,000 people protesting the British National Health Service considering closing the St. Richard's Hospital in Sussex today in 2007.
Eric Clapton pulled out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's concert at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York today in 2009 after having surgery to remove gallstones. In his place was another pretty good guitar player, his friend who'd taken his place when he'd quit The Yardbirds, Jeff Beck.
The Velvet Underground's frontman Lou Reed died at age 71 today in 2013 of liver disease.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Steve Miller Band keyboard player and songwriter Byron Allred is 71.
Garry Tallent, bass player for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, is 71.
Judas Priest guitarist and songwriter K.K. Downing is 69.